Reynolds Abroad

In August of 2012 Renée Stafford spoke at the Center for Aging and Health about a year-long opportunity to utilize the UNC Chapel Hill Reynolds curriculum on aging for specialties in the Lake Region of Tanzania, Africa. She discussed the need to address Tanzania's aging population and the chronic diseases the medical profession will increasingly face. As a Reynolds Faculty Scholar from UNC's Division of Trauma and Critical Care and as Director of Critical Care in the Department of Surgery, Dr. Stafford is not only developing the curricula, but is also acting on the need for the integration of aging expertise in specialties in the US and abroad.

Renée Stafford_Reynolds in AfricaI am Renée Stafford, one of the Reynolds faculty scholars here at UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Surgery. I have an exciting opportunity to take some of our Reynolds curriculum to Africa. I've been given a spot in Tanzania to help with medical education at the Bugando Medical Centre as well as at as well as Catholic University Health and Allied sciences in Tanzania. This year-long position is funded by USAID through the Touch Foundation which is a private nongovernmental organization based in New York City. The Touch Foundation only works in Tanzania and its purpose is to help build healthcare access and education infrastructure.

I will be working in one specific region in Tanzania called the Lake Region, in the southern and southwestern area of Lake Victoria. I will also work to set up more clinical education programs through the Catholic University as well as training medical students in district hospitals.

This will be a fabulous opportunity to take some of our UNC Reynolds geriatric curricula with us. One might say “Geriatrics in Africa, don't they have a life expectancy that's not very long?”  Yes that's true, if you compare it to the developed world. However the life expectancy has been growing rapidly and in many countries in the developing world life expectancy is now at the 65 year age range. In Tanzania life expectancy is at about 54 years, so people are living longer and have more chronic diseases.

This year-long position is the perfect opportunity to take the Reynolds curriculum to Tanzania and see how we might incorporate it into the established curriculum. There have been previous projects like this, in fact the World Health Organization has a geriatrics project across much of the developing world, so this will be a nice way for the UNC Reynolds Curriculum to dovetail on some of the things that the World Health Organization does.

As part of year-long project I have all sorts of outcome measures as deliverables for USAID including board pass rates, exam pass rates and participation in lectures.  So I will be collecting outcome data on all of the lectures that I give. What I will be able to do with the UNC Reynolds curriculum is develop some adaptations for that part of the world, then give them exposure to some of the things that they now need to be thinking of in their aging population.  I will dovetail the Reynolds curriculum on their existing curriculum. This region has a very well established and well thought out curriculum so the UNC Reynolds curriculum will be extra icing on the cake.